Demand for true Americana that hasn’t been born of some corporate conglomerate fantasy in Nashville has never been quite as strong as it is in 2021, and you needn’t look much further than the underground beat to see exactly what I’m talking about. Up and comers like Jarret Forrester are changing the narrative for the country music genre, and in his new single “Tonight,” this singer/songwriter makes it more than clear how disinterested he is in following a commercial path with his music. This might be his lifestyle, but the material he’s creating is hardly made with financial gain as the primary source of motivation.
There’s a softness to Forrester’s vocal in this track countered with a sternness to his narrative that makes his words all the more obviously heartfelt from beginning to end, and although it’s not the only feature of note here, it’s easily my favorite part of “Tonight.” He isn’t afraid to utilize a fragility in this melody that other players might just as soon have tried to bury with instrumental charisma, and to me, this move indicates a songwriting efficiency present in his skillset that no serious country fan can afford to scoff at right now.
The harmonies here are indeed some of the more brooding I’ve heard in an independent release this season, and I actually think they do a lot to emphasize the emotionality of the lyrics in general. I don’t know that there’s any way you can discount the impact the tonal elements have in “Tonight,” and truly all of the material found on Forrester’s debut album Songs I Wrote For You (which was released just last year), just because of how significantly they influence our interpretation of the narrative even in the most cursory of listening sessions spent with this single.
I love the patience of the rhythm here, as it advances the sincerity of every verse in a fashion that no other component of the composition could have. Instead of trying to gallop away from his vulnerabilities, Forrester seems more than intent on drawing them to the surface in this piece and exploring what they mean in quite the poetic manner. This isn’t the first brilliantly-written country ballad I’ve had the chance to take a look at in 2021, but if it’s certainly one of the only releases I’ve heard out of the Carolinas to have really left me impressed with its creator.
“Tonight” is an unquestionably stirring track from an album worth taking some time out to examine as well, and if you’re as discriminating a country listener as I am I think you’re going to be very excited at what Jarret Forrester is working on at the moment. His is a brand of singer/songwriter both familiar and entirely foreign to the outlandishly alternative end the country genre has been producing in the past couple of years, and if provided the proper venue through which to connect with the masses, I believe Forrester is going to find himself very well-received with the music he’s performing right now.
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